Pan de Elote

In Mexico, corn bread, called pan de elote in Spanish, has a cake-like consistency and is at once savory and sweet, prepared with whole corn kernels, condensed milk, grated cheese, and only a tiny bit of flour. I first made pan de elote when teaching a cooking class for kids, and later decided to experiment…

Concord Grape and Walnut Tart

I always look forward to late summer and early fall, when concord grapes make an appearance at farmers markets in New York City. The dark purple grapes, which are deliciously sweet yet tart and filled with crunchy seeds, originated in the town of Concord, Massachusetts. These days, they’re commonly grown around the Great Lakes and…

Bakewell Tart

One of my coworkers lived in England until she was 11 years old. Of all British desserts, the one she misses most from her childhood is the Bakewell tart: a buttery crust with an almond filling and layer of raspberry jam. This delicious tart is a variation on Bakewell pudding, a jam-filled egg custard named after…

Coffee, Walnut, and Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Biscotti are twice-baked cookies with origins in ancient Rome. In Italy, the cookies are typically dunked in cappuccinos for breakfast. In this light adaption of one of my favorite biscotti recipes, which I’ve been making on a regular basis since college, the dough itself contains ground coffee beans, along with cinnamon, walnuts, and chocolate chips….

Mshabak: Syrian Doughnuts

The other day, my coworker gave me a recipe for mshabak, a doughnut-like pastry popular in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. The dessert, which is typically served on holidays, is piped into spirals and deep-friend much like funnel cake. The Syrian variety is made from an unsweetened dough containing yogurt, semolina, and rosewater. After frying, the…

Chocolate Tahini Bars

The flavors of dark chocolate and tahini, a sesame paste with origins in the Middle East, work surprisingly well together. I originally set out to make chocolate tahini truffles, but ended up creating this bar cookie instead. Served cold, with an almond-date crust, creamy tahini filling, and dark chocolate glaze sprinkled with sea salt, it’s…

Almond Date Thumbprint Cookies

The inspiration for these delicious, marzipan-like cookies comes from a dessert I first made in high school. As part of an assignment for Latin class, I had to prepare a dish from an ancient Roman cookbook and bring it to a class potluck. I chose to make roasted dates stuffed with almonds and drizzled with honey. …

Salsa Verde Pizza

The other day, my husband and I were taking a walk, discussing what to make for an upcoming pizza night (a weekly tradition in our home,) when we passed by a Mexican restaurant with outdoor seating. Catching a glimpse of the delicious food being served, I thought: why not make pizza with Mexican flavors? I wanted something simple and…

Bolani: Afghan Turnovers

These pan-fried turnovers, called bolani in Persian and perakai in Pashto, are filled with fresh herbs and potato, pumpkin, or spinach. Though traditionally prepared for special occasions, they are a staple at many Afghan restaurants in America. The first time I made bolani dough, I followed a recipe I found on an Afghan food blog.  I had help from a friend whose parents…

Maamoul: Middle Eastern Holiday Cookies

In the Levant region of the Middle East, both Easter and Eid are celebrated with date-and-walnut-filled shortbread cookies called maamoul.  I first learned about these delicious treats from a Palestinian coworker, who pointed out that maamoul are very similar to Russian tea cakes, one of my favorite cookies to bake. The tea cakes, which also happen to be…

Avocado Lime and Coconut Cookies

When my mom first moved to New York from Sao Paulo, she was surprised to discover that Americans use avocados in savory dishes. In Brazil, avocados are eaten for dessert, blended with sugar and lime juice until creamy and pudding-like. Inspired by this dessert, which I ate several times growing up, I developed a cookie recipe infused with Brazilian…

Masala Challah

Challah, a traditional Jewish bread made of egg-enriched dough and shaped into braids, is prepared much the same way in Jewish communities around the globe. But that hasn’t stopped modern cooks from putting a personal spin on it. Take Leah Koenig’s delicious pumpkin apple butter challah, or Deb Perelman’s fig and sea salt variation. Five years ago, on a whim, I added…